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The effect of education on a country’s energy consumption: Evidence from developed and developing countries

Education has been regarded throughout history as one of the main drivers of economic development and innovation, and can be viewed as one of the means available to nations for encouraging energy education, implementation of renewable energy and reduced energy consumption. This paper analyses the causal and empirical relationship between primary energy consumption and education for a group of developed and developing countries, as well as an aggregate panel of the developed and developing country groups for the period 1980-2013. The results confirm a unidirectional relationship between energy consumption and education, flowing from education to energy consumption. Another interesting result, is the confirmation of a non-linear relationship between energy consumption and education: energy consumption is increased by higher education levels in developing countries, while energy consumption falls with higher education levels in developed countries. Lastly, this paper provides a brief description of the impact of these results on energy policy and recommends that developed countries implement pro-education policies to reduce energy consumption while developing countries should make use of education coupled with environmental awareness programs to reduce the effect increased education will have on energy consumption.

Working paper 678
1 May 2017
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